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Archive for January 9th, 2013

As always I invite you to read my thoughts and referenced articles.  I value your insights and perspectives.

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Consider for a moment how we traditionally describe learning environments: formal education; informal learning; structured; unstructured; and so on.  I have taught courses face to face (brick and mortar classrooms) and online (learning management systems).  I have taught informally in structured settings (large group conferences; small group collaborations in face to face settings and through software/internet) and spontaneously unstructured (coffee shops; available rooms elsewhere, software/internet).

The idea here is that learning is situational all the time for everyone, everywhere.  Let me try one more time:  You and I are people in the world.  Every moment of our lives we are in situations.  Always.  Thus every moment of our lives we are learning.  This isn’t about the potential to learn.  I am saying we are always learning something in every situation – every moment of our lives.  (Jarvis, 2006)

We are learning about ourselves, others, our “self” in relationship with others.  We are learning about situations.   We are learning culture and context.  We are learning roles and duty.  Certainly we are learning these and more.  (Ryberg & Larsen, 2008)

The motto of my Leadership and Learning Group is this:  “Power and success flow from reflection and a willingness to learn.”  Naturally our motto will mean different things to different people because we define the words through who we are as individuals.  What is “power”?  What is “success”?  These are personal.  Learned through previous situations and reinforced or revised through any given current situation.  Likewise the outcomes of “a willingness to learn” are personal.  (Duarte, 2009)

So, a group of people encounters a situation.  The learning will be unique to each person based on who they are: their abilities; skills; previous knowledge, and so forth.  The individual learns something from that common situation, intentional or not.   That being said, all situations entail some level of social context. We may discuss the situation together.  We may opt to talk about the situation to others.  We may write about the situation that then gets shared.  The immediate event of the situation is often social (an is social in the case of a group experience).

In a world of “connectedness” where everything is connected to everything else then social is true regardless of how many people may be present.  One aspect of this connectedness is who I believe I am.  Who you believe you are.  Our identities are formed and reformed in social context – through situations. (Jones, Ferreday, & Hodgson, 2008).  In a world of connectedness we need to recognize that everything we learn in every situation is available for application on every other situation.  (Gordon, 2008)

So now, it is on us, as individuals to learn well.  It is on us as individuals to be good facilitators of one another.  Even here what does it mean to “learn well” and to be a “good facilitator”?  There is no single answer.  As always the definitions are as diverse as the people providing them.  (Ryan, 2011).

For me it comes down to this:  am I becoming more loving, compassionate, and respectful of others and myself?  Am I facilitating the same in others?   I can tell you this, the more I learn the more I know that I have so much more to learn.

Duarte, F. (2009). Rekindling the Sociological Imagination as a Pedagogical “Package” in Management Education. Journal of Management Education, 33(1), 59-76.

Gordon, M. (2008). Between Constructivism and Connectedness. Journal of Teacher Education, 59(4), 322-331.

Jarvis, P. (2006). Towards a comprehensive theory of human learning. London New York: Routledge.

Jones, C. R., Ferreday, D., & Hodgson, V. (2008). Networked learning a relational approach: weak and strong ties. [Article]. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24(2), 90-102.

Ryan, J. (2011). Accuracy and Bias in Perceptions of Political Knowledge. [Article]. Political Behavior, 33(2), 335-356.

Ryberg, T., & Larsen, M. C. (2008). Networked identities: understanding relationships between strong and weak ties in networked environments. [Article]. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24(2), 103-115.

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